Somehow, I became a worshipper of soccer. It started at an early age. No pee-wee football or little league for me--rather a midfielder for McDonald's in first grade. We won the championship in our age class, and we got a free meal at our sponsor's restaurant. I remember this because it was the first time I ordered food for myself... (I didn't know you had to wait for your food at the counter). I then left sports for Boy Scouts and music.
Later, in 1998, I came out of sports retirement. I joined the high school varsity team. I played midfield. My legs creaked and popped. I watched the Coupe du Monde (France) the same year. I was caught up in the haircut fever of Ronaldo. I didn't know how "Zizou" was, but I was getting there. I started to understand the simplicity and difficulty of this sport. No equipment required but a slightly-inflated ball... not even shoes. This prepared me to watch Brandi Chastain strip off her uniform in celebration in 2003.
In 2006, Germany (my favorite national team) was hosting the Cup. My roommate had a big-screen. I saw "Zizou" and the head butt. I saw the burgeoning boy-genius of Cristiano Ronaldo. This prepared me to watch the 2008 UEFA championships at 4 AM while in lived in Australia.
Now we are here, 2010. South Africa, more U.S. media coverage than ever. More games than I recall ever seeing being broadcast. Germany just kicked Australia's ass. England and the USA ended up in draw. Drooling now to see what other teams (Brazil?) can astound. Alas, too little time to see it all. Maybe I'll go to Brazil in 2014.